The Fulton County Georgia investigation into Donald Trump's phone conversation with Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger over the 2020 elections in that state has now hit the Special Grand Jury phase.
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis is requesting a special grand jury to aid in her investigation of former President Donald Trump and his efforts to overturn Georgia’s 2020 election results.
In a Thursday letter to Christopher S. Brasher, chief judge of Fulton County’s Superior Court, Willis said the move was needed because a “significant number of witnesses and prospective witnesses have refused to cooperate with the investigation absent a subpoena requiring their testimony.”
She cited comments Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger made during an October 2021 interview with NBC News, in which he said “if (Willis) wants to interview me, there’s a process for that.”
So-called special purpose grand juries are rarely used in Georgia. But they could be a valuable tool for Willis as she takes the extraordinary step of investigating the conduct of a president while he was in office, legal experts say.
“I think it makes sense,” said Melissa Redmon, a former Fulton County deputy DA who’s now an assistant clinical professor at the University of Georgia’s law school. “Having a jury that’s already familiar with the investigation just saves everyone a lot of time.”
Willis’ probe, launched in February, is centered on the Jan. 2 phone call Trump placed to Raffensperger, in which he urged the Republican to “find” the 11,780 votes to reverse Joe Biden’s win in Georgia in November 2020. But it could also include other actions from Trump’s allies who sowed doubts about the election results, including testimony his attorney Rudy Giuliani gave at a state legislative hearing.
In her letter to Brasher, Willis said the DA’s office “has received information indicating a reasonable probability that the State of Georgia’s administration of elections in 2020, including the State’s election of the President of the United States, was subject to possible criminal disruptions.”
Special grand juries, which typically have 16 to 23 members, can’t issue indictments. But they can subpoena witnesses, compel the production of documents and information, and enter into certain offices for the purposes of an investigation.
They were previously used to investigate several metro Atlanta politicians for public corruption, including former Gwinnett County Commissioner Kevin Kenerly, ex-Clayton Sheriff Victor Hill and ex-DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis.
Willis said a special grand jury would be beneficial for the Trump probe because jurors can be impaneled for as long as prosecutors need, would be focused on the one investigation and have “an investigatory focus appropriate to the complexity of the facts and circumstances involved.”
A regular Fulton County grand jury is seated for two months. Jurors typically hear hundreds of felony cases before their service ends.
So on top of Trump's legal troubles this week in New York and on the Supreme Court, now things get worse for him in Georgia, too.
That hard rain is falling, folks, and it doesn't appear that it's going to be letting up anytime soon,